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Forklift Accident Lawyers in Houston, Texas

Forklift accidents can be prevented through proper training, proper equipment and proper maintenance

Powered Industrial Trucks or “Forklifts” are common causes of injuries.  Forklifts come in a variety of configurations.  The standard lift truck has forks that lift and tilt on a mast to raise loads that are sometimes on pallets.  Boom or telescoping forklifts have telescoping arms that can raise loads to heights exceeding 40 feet.  

Forklift wrecks – operator error and improper safety practices

Training is a must.  Forklift operators must be trained and certified.   They must be trained to (1) always visualize the path they are travelling on for obstructions and pedestrians; (2) use a flag man when necessary, (3) control their speed, (4) use care when turning or working on a graded surface, and (5) operate the forklift to maintain a proper center of gravity and therefore avoid tip-overs.  

Common mistakes are: wearing clothing that obstructs the drivers’ view, failing to keep a proper lookout, “hot dogging” or driving too fast or taking sharp turns, not being mindful of slopes in work surfaces, travelling with oversized loads without taking into account obstructions and pedestrians around the path of the forklift and overloading the forklift. Sometimes the culprit is an improperly designed traffic control plan or blind spots created by the facility owner or operator.  

Forklift tip-overs, forklift collisions and forklift ejections can all occur in the negligent operation of a forklift.  

Forklifts losing their loads – improper drift, other defects and unstable loads

Improper or inadequate forklift maintenance can lead to serious accidents and injuries.  

Forklifts use hydraulic systems for lifting and handling loads.  Poor maintenance can cause entrapment of air.  That entrapped air can lead to improper drift, causing the forks of the forklift to tilt forward even when the load is within capacity, in turn causing heavy loads to roll or fall off the forks.  Of course, nearby workers or customers can suffer serious injuries from falling loads.  

Notably, forks of the forklift can become worn and need to be replaced.  Old or worn forks can break, causing the forklift to lose its load and again exposing those nearby to serious injury or death.  

Many loads also need to be secured, especially odd-sized loads, odd-shaped loads, and loads that are not on pallets. Often, loads need to be properly blocked, braced or tied down to prevent them from falling off the forks and injuring those nearby.  

Forklift safety equipment is essential

Backup mirrors, backup alarms and horns are important safety features of forklifts.  When these safety features are absent or broken, there is additional risk of forklift collisions.  

Forklift accidents can cause crush injuries, brain injuries, orthopedic injuries, amputations, de-gloving injuries and even death.  

Additional information on forklift safety can be found at the OSHA website.

If you or your loved one has been injured in a forklift accident, contact one of our personal injury lawyers today for an initial consultation.

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*John M. Padilla is licensed in Texas and California. The firm's other attorneys are licensed in Texas.

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